View Full Version : Overview of Sheet Film Processing Options

19-Sep-2005, 22:39
Well, I'm away at college, where I can sign out an 8x10 or 11x14 whenever I want, but am sadly away from my beloved Jobo processor.

I'm going to be doing some work in 8x10 and 11x14. Aside from driving seven hours to get my Jobo, what are my options for processing film?

I know that trays are the normal option, but aside from being worried about scratching, I'm a bit worried about leaving the film in an open tray in a darkroom that may have a few minor light leaks.

Anything unusual to suggest?


John Kasaian
19-Sep-2005, 22:55
Try a Unicolor processor---it costs a lot less than a keg and slightly more than a extra large combo pizza---plus you can load the drum in a changing bag and soup your film in the dorm. Come to think of it, you could probably do your laundry in one(very small loads of course!)


tor kviljo
20-Sep-2005, 02:06
Do a search for "cibachrome" on ebay for a periode of time, and You will be rewarded with all kinds of more or less useful drums suited for LF & ULF formaty - and often for sub $$ 10 amount of money.... Look for the one which both have paper/film holders/ribs along inner side of drum as well as ribs to lift back side of paper/film out from drum-walls. Othervice, You will have to stick with films not needing wetting on base side during processing. 8"x10" ektachrome needs wetting on both sides to some kind of remove anti halo othervice looking as purple stain. Motorbase is a pleasure to make work easier - still only a few $$$$ extra. I have used the COMOT by durst (low-voltage motor-base) and liked it a lot before moving into Jobo-land.

Jay DeFehr
20-Sep-2005, 02:53
Okay, you asked for unusual.

You'll need a ziploc baggie big enough to hold a sheet of your film, and a black plastic bag that paper or film come in, big enough to hold the ziploc baggie. Put the ziploc baggie in the black bag, with the ziploc open, and slid partially out of the black bag. Put your film in the ziploc, pour in your developer, zip closed, and slide into the black bag. Fold the open end of the black bag under, and let the bag lie flat for roomlight agitation. Lift alternate corners of the bag to agitate. Handling is improved by placing the bag in a tray, or on a board of some kind. Slow and clunky, but provides reliable results. Your negs won't scratch, development is even, uses a small volume of developer, and developer doesn't oxidise as it would in an open tray.

ABS tubes. 3" pipe will work for 8x10, but you'll need 6" pipe for 11x14. You'll need a length of pipe in the appropriate size, 2 plastic knockout plugs, and a coupler for each tube. Cut one section of tube a little longer than the long side of the neg you'll develop in it, and glue one of the knockout plugs in one end. Cut another section of the pipe long enough to stick out of the coupler when inserted, and glue the other knockout plug in the end of that section. That's your cap. The knockout plugs are white, so you'll have to paint them black.

You can develop at least three 8x10 hegs in a one gallon paint can, by the rubber band method. Bend the films into a U-shape, emulsion side in, and secure with a rubber band. Be sure it's a U-shape and not an O-shape. This works best for very dilute developers and EDRA (Extended Development/Reduced Agitation) techniques. A plastic pail is better than a metal one, but you might have to paint it to make it light-proof. A 5-gallon pail would work for 11x14.

Are the trays starting to look better yet?


Frank Petronio
20-Sep-2005, 06:13
What about sending it out to a lab for processing?

Michael Kadillak
20-Sep-2005, 06:40
Remember how much money you had when you were in college Frank?

I was totally busted broke and borrowed.

Frank Petronio
20-Sep-2005, 07:38
If I was broke I think I'd be shooting smaller formats... or at least using print paper in the holders. It's gotta be expensive no matter how he cuts it.

David A. Goldfarb
20-Sep-2005, 08:00
Run a test with 4x5" in open trays to find out how bad those light leaks really are. Do one sheet with another method, like a print drum or daylight tank, and compare the base fog. If you keep the development time short and the film speed isn't too high, you may be okay.

Ted Harris
20-Sep-2005, 08:21
Jason, do I rcall correctly that you are at RIT? If that is the case I can't imagine taht they do not have darkroom facilities that would make us all drool. Any reason why you can't use those?

20-Sep-2005, 08:27
Yes, we have darkroom facilities that make all of us drool. But as far as I can tell, tray processing is the only option for sheet film (short of 4x5 in tanks). Very few people here shoot 8x10 or larger (I'm not sure how often the 11x14 gets checked out, but it can't be too often at all). As far as I know the on-campus lab doesn't do B&W (and no reason they should).

I'm quite sure we don't have any Jobo's floating around, being that we have a lab with two dip&dunks in the basement, and two (soon to be out-of-service) Kreonite processors in the color print lab.

jonathan smith
20-Sep-2005, 13:35
Have your mom send you the drum from your JOBO, and order a roller base.

Frank Petronio
20-Sep-2005, 14:52
Tell Willie Osterman that for $35,ooo you ought to have your professors processing your film for you overnight.